Thursday, April 23, 2015

Men at Work - Two Hearts

Today (April 23) marked the thirtieth anniversary of Two Hearts, the third and final studio album of the 80's for Men At Work. The album spent thirteen weeks on the US Billboard Album chart, peaking at number 50. It also went to number 37 in Sweden and number 16 in Australia.

Prior to its recording, dummer Jerry Speisler and bassist Johnathan Rees left the band. Guitarist Ron Strykert left the group during the recording session. As such, the remaining members worked with a number of studio musicians to fill the gaps.

Side one begins with "Man with Two Hearts", the source of the album's title. The lyrics of this mid-tempo rocker tells of a conflicted man caught between two loves.

"Giving Up" has a bit different sound to it, due likely to the change up on lead vocals. For me, it has more of a 60’s pop sound to it.

"Everything I Need", the lead single, hit number 47 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 37 in Australia and number 28 on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. I can honestly say that I have no memory of this one at all even though it was on the US charts for nine weeks. The stations around me must not have given it much exposure.

The B-side to the first single was "Sail to You". This song has a strong synth and funky guitar sound to it that instantly reminded me of Duran Duran. The brief rap by Colin Hay was definitely unexpected. I liked the track a lot.

"Children on Parade" takes on the serious subject of child abuse and the secret shame with which many children are forced to live.

Side two starts with "Maria", the second single. It tells the tale of a poor country girl who lives a life of waiting.

"Stay at Home" has an interesting syncopation that makes the song stand out a bit.

The third single was "Hard Luck Story", a pounding percussion driven piece.

"Snakes and Ladders", a cautionary tale about making alliances, features some catchy musical hooks. It was the B-side to the third single while an instrumental version was the B-side to the second single.

The album closes on a haunting somber note with "Still Life". They lyrics reflects upon a failed marriage.

While I owned vinyl copies of the first two Men At Work albums (click here for my other reviews of the group's releases), "Two Hearts" was not one that crossed my radar back in the day. I suspect that would have a lot to do with the short time it was on the US charts and the fact that only one of the four singles charted in the States.

I got to know half of these tracks in the late 90's when I picked up a "best of" CD compilation for the group. Listening to them in context with the other five for this review, I found Two Hearts to be a pretty interesting album that would warrant another listen by me again in the near future.

1 comment:

HERC said...

What the hell happened to these guys?

The first album was full of catchy pop and the second demonstrated their continued evolution - many of us feel it is superior to the debut.

But then this?